IT’S OFFICIAL! The three men and two women confirmed as candidates for the 2015 Parliamentary election in NE Cambs
- Credit: Archant
Sitting Tory MP Steve Barclay was told officially tonight of his four political opponents that will contest the NE Cambs Parliamentary seat on May 7.
As the 4pm deadline today came and went it was, as expected, Labour, Greens, UKIP and Lib Dems who will do battle with the Conservative candidate who has held the seat for the past five years.
Mr Barclay entered Parliament for the first time in 2010 after winning his party’s nomination at an open primary (where the public gets a say in candidate selection) held in Whittlesey. He went onto win with a majority of 16,425 and it would need a seismi swing to unseat him. Labour, for instance, would need a 17 per cent swing to win whilst Lib Dems would need a 16 per cent swing.
However an uncertain factor remains that of UKIP, represented in 2010 by Robin Talbot, a 36 year-old tanker driver who was briefly the party’s Peterborough chairman and a local councillor. Euro MEP Stuart Agnew described him as a “bright star” but that was before Mr Talbot quit UKIP to join the Patriotic Socialist Party.
UKIP’s choice in 2015 is Andrew Charalambous, the party’s housing spokesman, and hoping to be a recipient of the surge in his party’s popularity in NE Cambs that saw several successes in the 2013 county council elections.
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It had been for a while considered a target seat for UKIP but a poll conducted by Lord Ashcroft earlier this year offered him little comfort apart from a likely second place with Tories retaining “a very solid 21 point lead”. In the main the potted biographies are from their own writings or websites.
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•Barclay, Steve (Conservative)
•Charalambous, Andrew Lambrou (UKIP)
•Nethsingha, Lucy Kathleen (Liberal Democrats)
•Rustidge, Ken (Labour)
•Scott-Daniels, Helen Mary (Green Party)
STEVE BARCLAY (Conservative)
Steve was Member of Parliament for North East Cambridgeshire from 2010-15 and is standing for re-election at the General Election. He is married to Karen and has a daughter, Amelie, and a son, Luke, and they live just outside Wisbech in Cambridgeshire.
In Parliament he says he focussed on achieving better value for money in public spending, promoting patient safety in the NHS and fairness in the tax system.
Steve says he comes from a working class Northern background, growing up in Lancashire. He was born in 1972 and is the youngest of three rugby playing brothers. “My dad worked as a full time trade union official and then in IT, and my mum worked full time as a civil service administrator,” he says. He says he is the first generation of his family to go to university, reading history at Cambridge , and spending his gap year in the army serving with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
He qualified as a solicitor in 1998 and then worked as an insurance company lawyer for Axa Insurance, as a regulator for the Financial Services Authority, and as Director of Regulatory Affairs and then Head of Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions at Barclays Retail Bank prior to entering Parliament.
He joined the Conservative Party in 1994 after leaving university. He stood for Parliament in 1997 in Manchester Blackley and in 2001 in Lancaster & Wyre, before being selected for his current seat of North East Cambridgeshire in January 2008 by an open primary. He was elected to Parliament in 2010 securing over 50 per cent of the vote and a majority of 16,425.
ANDREW CHARALAMBOUS (UKIP)
He says that “an area is only as good as the resources it gets to create jobs, opportunities and public services.
“For too long you have been treated like second class citizens and your area has received minimum government investment in infrastructure, education, policing and health services. More and more local people are standing up for themselves and their families and turning to UKIP for real change.”
Mr Charalambous believes NE Cambs has been neglected by Government for too long “and UKIP would make Britain great again by taking us out of the EU and investing the fifty five million we give them a day on our elderly, hospitals and schools.
“We will cut taxes especially for the low paid leaving them with more money in their pockets. Furthermore, we will abolish inheritance tax. UKIP will cut the excessive foreign aid budget. much of which funds governments with scandalous human rights records and use this saving to improve the lives of needy people here”.
Other policies he says include the abolition of University tuition fees “and we will ensure the NHS is not privatised and stays free at point of delivery and need for everyone.
“GPs will have to stay open longer and we will oppose plans to charge patients for visiting their GP.”
Mr Charalambous says UKIP is the only party that will give the English people a real chance to celebrate English culture and heritage by making St George’s day a public holiday.
“We are the fastest growing party ever in British history,” he says. “We are the people’s army.”
LUCY NETHSINGHA (LIB DEM)
Proud of the fact the NE Cambs Liberal Democrat team have been increasing their local strength since the General Election in 2010 she quotes as an example the seat won on East Cambs District council and before that a March Town Council seat in 2013.
“There are no Labour councillors on either Fenland or East Cambs District Councils.
Only the Liberal Democrats can challenge the Conservatives here,” she says.
Mrs Nethsingha is a mother of three and a local school teacher and says she understands the challenges facing families in Cambridgeshire. She has lived in Cambridgeshire for eight years, and is deputy leader of the Lib Dem group on the county council. During her time as a county councillor she says she has opposed “the extreme cuts successive Conservative administrations have forced on North East Cambridgeshire.”
She has also, she says, voted for better investment in public transport, campaigning for many years for the re-opening of the rail-line to Wisbech. She also opposed “the excessive cuts to bus services which have left many North East Cambridgeshire residents isolated in their homes.”
And as a member of Cambridgeshire’s Health and Well-being Board she believes she is acutely aware of the challenges facing the NHS in North East Cambridgeshire. “I am delighted that the Lib Dems have said they will provide the extra funding the NHS needs to continue to provide the care North East Cambridgeshire residents deserve,” she says.
Mrs Nethsingha says as a teacher she also knows the importance of good schools and supporting schools in North East Cambridgeshire “to provide the highest quality of education”.
KEN RUSTIDGE (LABOUR)
Ken has been the parliamentary candidate since last August and says that as a life long supporter of the party he’s “thrilled to have been selected and determined to deliver.”
A father of two, he has lived and worked as a teacher in the area for over 20 years. He currently works for the National Union of Teachers and is on the National Executive. Ken is also a major in the army reserve and has more than 30 years service, including service in Iraq.
His priorities include protecting front line services -by investing in the NHS, policing, councils and fire-fighters.
He also wants to “promote tough but fair immigration rules - by strengthening border controls, ensuring employments agencies are not advertising jobs abroad before they recruit locally, and not exploiting any workers with low pay.
“To make work pay for all - by abolishing zero hours contracts, raising the minimum wage and improving working conditions.
His other aims include the creation of a “fairer society by protecting the most vulnerable, giving everybody the opportunity to work and to receive a good education. And I want to improve local transport systems -by investing in roads, rail and bus services.”
Since being selected, Mr Rustidge says he has campaigned all over the constituency offering name checks of March, Whittlesey, Wisbech, Littleport, Sutton, Manea, Parsons Drove, Wisbech St. Mary and all of the smaller villages and towns which form Fenland.
He is out campaigning with local candidates and says he is “relishing the opportunity to begin helping the people of Fenland and surrounding areas”.
HELEN SCOTT-DANIELS (GREEN PARTY)
Helen says she believes “good quality local decision making is key if we want to ensure a more sustainable and equitable way of life”. She says she is keen to give local people a chance to vote Green here for the first time.
Helen says she has campaigned for green causes for over 20 years and has degrees in geography and environmental studies. Born in Fenland, she went to school in Whittlesey and Wisbech and now lives in Wisbech and works for the College of West Anglia.
Unusually she used crowd funding to help with her election campaign to fund a leaflet to every home.
“The most important thing you can do is to Vote Green on May 7,” she says. “The constituency is a large one and there are many small towns and villages across the Fenland that have never had a Green Party candidate before. We would love to let them know that there is now the chance to vote for a party that stands for fairness and the common good.
Helen says that she wants to give people “a genuine alternative” and believes the Green Party “offers sensible and coherent policies. Good quality local decision making is key if we want to ensure a more sustainable and equitable way of life for NE Cambridgeshire”.
She says the Greens are working for a Living Wage and a fairer economy and her policies “policies centre on concern for social and environmental justice. The Green Party self-funds and so can maintain independence from large corporations or banks.
“NE Cambridgeshire has five market towns and the Green Party is keen to promote local shops to help the local economy.”